A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) highlights an upward trend in pedestrian fatalities. While the rate of other traffic fatalities increased since 2010 by 25 percent, pedestrian deaths increased by 77 percent in the same time period and are at the highest numbers in more than 40 years. Last year alone, more than 7,500 pedestrians were killed by drivers. Those who survive often suffer catastrophic injuries from the impact of being hit by a vehicle while unprotected.
Knowing where pedestrian accidents occur is critical. According to the GHSA, most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas outside of designated crosswalks. Urban areas have the highest concentration of vehicles and pedestrians, raising the likelihood of a pedestrian accident. The CDC also reports that night hours are a time of higher risk for pedestrians in these urban areas. Parking areas are another place where pedestrian accidents can occur because patrons usually walk the same passageways as the vehicles using the parking lot.
Risk Factors for Pedestrian Accidents
In addition to location, other significant factors increase the risk of pedestrian accidents. Crash statistics for 2019 show that 46 percent of all crashes that resulted in a pedestrian fatality, either the vehicle driver or the pedestrian, had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit. Drunk drivers are a threat to pedestrians, and drunk pedestrians are more likely to walk on roadway locations away from intersections where their risk of being hit is higher.
The higher the speed of vehicles on the roadway, the greater the risk of pedestrian accidents. Vehicles traveling at high speeds cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a crash, and the impact of a high-speed accident causes more severe injuries to pedestrians.
Distracted drivers are also dangerous for pedestrians. Anything that takes a driver’s focus off driving, such as eating, drinking, texting, programming the navigation system, or disciplining children, can lead to the driver’s failure to see a pedestrian in their path.
How Can I Stay Safe While Walking?
To avoid being in a pedestrian accident, you can follow these steps when you are out on foot:
- Always use designated crosswalks to cross a road or an intersection.
- Always use sidewalks or paths next to the road.
- Stay sober or stay home if you have been using drugs or alcohol.
- Stay alert to your surroundings, and avoid using earbuds which make it hard to hear what is happening around you.
- Keep your head up and focused on your path, not on a cellphone screen.
- Wear light-colored reflective clothing at night to increase visibility and carry a flashlight.
- Walk facing oncoming traffic.
Towson Personal Injury Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Advocate for Pedestrians Injured by Negligent Drivers
Pedestrians have the right to safe passage on the roadways. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, speak with our Towson personal injury lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Call 443-589-0150 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.